What if you had hiccups for a few hours -- annoying, right?
What about a whole day?
For 39-year-old Micky Cheney, 10 days of hiccups -- which are caused by diaphragm spasms -- prompted him to check himself into the hospital.
"It's been miserable, I don't hold food down, i don't sleep that well unless I get a sleeping aid to help knock me out to sleep," Cheney told WCSH6 Portland.
ABC News reported that Cheney's curious bout of the hiccups began on Nov. 5 as he was making deliveries for UPS. Only problem: They didn't stop, even when night fell.
"The next thing you know, he's puking", his wife, Keri Cheney, told ABC News. "I told him he had to go get checked out, but he was like, 'What am I going to do, go to the ER and tell them I have the hiccups?'"
Finally, Cheney did end up checking in to Maine Medical Center, where he has been undergoing tests and treatments since Nov. 9, NECN reported.
His doctor, Dr. Steve Hess, told WCSH6 that it seems Cheney's case of the hiccups might be caused by esophagitis (heartburn):
He says their plan of treatment is to sedate Micky enough to slow his hiccuping down, while treating his heartburn, the way they would treat an ulcer. Dr. Hess says his hiccups should be gone within a few days.
ABC News reported that up to 4,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized because of hiccups every year. They can be caused by all manner of things, including stress, infections and some drugs.
Hiccups can be caused by any number of things -- from eating too much or drinking too much alcohol, when there's a sudden fluctuation in temperature, or if you're stressed -- but long-term hiccups may be a sign of a more serious condition, like nerve damage; conditions like stroke, meningitis, multiple sclerosis or tumors; or even certain drugs, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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There are seemingly endless hiccup remedies that involve some sort of alternate breathing method, from holding your breath to taking deep breaths to holding your breath while plugging your ears. "Anything you do in regard to your breath, it's possible that you could disrupt that nerve impulse from the brain to the diaphragm so you stop the hiccups," says Udermann. A little extra carbon dioxide may also help to <a href="http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/hiccups" target="_hplink">relax the diaphragm</a>, according to Dr. Oz, although we don't know exactly why. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/search/?ss=2&w=14168366%40N08&q=holding+breath&m=text" target="_hplink">Camera on autopilot</a></em>
Take A Drink
There may be even more claims of water-based ways to stop the hiccups than there are breathing tricks. Among the many we've heard: Drink from the opposite side of the glass, drink through a straw (with <em>and</em> without plugging your ears), drink through a napkin or towel and drink a big glass of water without stopping. Swallowing -- which, when you think about it, is a temporary change in your breathing, says Udermann -- <a href="http://www.readersdigest.ca/health/home-remedies/7-ways-get-rid-hiccups" target="_hplink">may override those diaphragm spasms</a>, according to Reader's Digest Canada. "It doesn't matter if you drink upside down or sideways or from a spoon," says Udermann. "It's that <em>act</em> that could be disruptive." <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/eschipul/6813608863/" target="_hplink">eschipul</a></em>
"What works in our house is a teaspoon of sugar," says Udermann. "You eat it, and they're gone, 99 percent of the time." Others swear by a spoonful of peanut butter or ice cream. We've even heard biting into a slice of lemon coated in sugar and bitters can do the trick. But there's not likely anything specific about the peanut butter or the sugar or the bitters that's easing those hiccups. Like with drinking and breathing tricks, eating has the potential to affect your breath and therefore your diaphragm, says Udermann. We can't help but remind you though that that spoonful of sugar is just that, a spoon full of sugar, and it counts, calorically. Women should aim to eat <a href="http://www.rodale.com/recommended-sugar-intake" target="_hplink">fewer than 5 teaspoons of sugar a day</a>, men 9 and kids about 3, so you might want to try other remedies first!
Stick Out Your Tongue
When you stick out or even pull on your tongue, you stimulate a part of the throat connected to the nasal passage called the <a href="http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/pharynx" target="_hplink">nasopharynx</a> and the <a href="http://www.readersdigest.ca/health/home-remedies/7-ways-get-rid-hiccups" target="_hplink">opening between the vocal cords</a>, which may offer some relief. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/xlordashx/4081277075/" target="_hplink">xlordashx</a></em>
A little scare could work for two reasons. First of all, it's likely to change your breathing cycle -- hear that gasp you just made? It may also work as a <a href="http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/respiratory/hiccup2.htm" target="_hplink">mental distraction, which seems to quell hiccups</a>. Want proof? Have someone ask you to hiccup on the spot, and see what happens, suggests Discovery Health.
<em>Reader's Digest Canada</em> also suggests squeezing your palm -- hard -- to <a href="http://www.readersdigest.ca/health/home-remedies/7-ways-get-rid-hiccups" target="_hplink">distract your nervous system</a> away from hiccuping to the sensation of mild pain instead. This may work similarly to the way that slapping or pinching yourself can <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/20/natural-mosquito-bite-treatment_n_1610186.html#slide=1116830" target="_hplink">distract from an itchy mosquito bite</a>.